Brooks Secondary School students conduct a waste assessment
“We’ve had big problems with contamination, mainly in our recycled bottles and our organic products.” ~ Kaili Mitchell, environmental sciences student
Inspired by solid waste audits conducted for the Qathet district at Augusta Recyclers, students at Brooks High School conducted a school solid waste audit.
Several students made presentations at the Powell River Board of Education meeting in January, presenting their findings to school administrators.
In an interview with the Peak, Graham Cocksedge’s Grade 11 Environmental Sciences students said they looked at the regional litter audit run by the Let’s Talk Trash team and consultants in May and November 2021 .
Cocksedge told his students about the waste testing that had been done and they became interested.
“It inspired us to look at our own waste,” said Kaili Mitchell, one of the environmental science students. “We collected data from garbage cans, divided the garbage cans and expressed them as percentages.
“We had major contamination issues, mainly in our recycled bottles and our organic products.”
Georgia Malamas said that the waste was sorted in October last year. According to Malamas, the school placed litter bins in strategic places, adding that the exam was held in the morning, so the bins were not full.
The waste was sorted into different categories such as recyclables, paper, cardboard, soft and hard plastic, compost and rubbish. The collection included all members of the environmental science class. Five of the students collected the waste balance results to present them to the school management.
Graden Fraser said that the whole class was active in selecting and organizing the materials.
“Everybody went for it,” added Fraser.
Malamas said that a large portion of the discarded items were not in their place, with up to 52.2 percent of the waste in the school’s zero waste containers being contaminated, according to statistics that the students disclosed to the school board. school.
“If something is contaminated in the containers, it cannot be recycled and must go in the trash,” said Malamas. “We want to see how much waste we produce that we think we are putting in the right bins.”
Myles Peterson said that there is an expectation that there will be some contamination, but it could be worse than expected.
Fraser said the hope is that there will be an educational component that grows out of the class project.
“Our classes are now ending, but we brought this to the attention of the school’s administrative staff and the school’s environmental club and showed them what we discovered and what we found,” Fraser said. “We have suggested some possible solutions to solve the problem.”
Malamas said that the aim is to put as little as possible in the waste stream.
“We came into this project and were really interested to see how the school was managing their waste,” said Malamas. “As we looked at all the data and saw possible solutions, we all became interested and focused on showing the administration how we can solve this problem better.”
Peterson said it is easy for the school to step forward and support the process by joining the school’s environmental club.
“It’s an active group,” he added.
He said future environmental science classes could also take the project forward to focus on proper segregation of solid waste and ensure students maximize the amount of waste that can be further recycled. from being thrown away.
According to a PowerPoint presentation that the students gave to District 47 trustees, during lunch and break times, they suggest that hall monitors/teachers already stationed in the hallways to monitor the halls stand next to the waste stations and Point students where their rubbish goes. . These teachers or students will be informed about the whole situation and how the stations work, says the presentation.
The students are informed that the teachers/students will help and guide in the stations only to establish a habit.